Citicorp will continue to expand in Asia despite recent setbacks in earnings and a suspension of efforts to buy a bank in Thailand.
"There has been no change" in Citicorp's plans to expand in Asia and in other emerging markets, a spokesman said. "We will be doing it by expanding existing businesses, and also remain open to a possible acquisition."
Turmoil in Asian financial markets put a $300 million dent in Citicorp revenues last year.
About $100 million of the hit was from the drop in Asian currencies, another $100 million from lower trading income, and $60 million from narrower margins in Asian and Brazilian consumer operations.
Citi, the second-largest banking company based in the United States, also dropped a tentative agreement to buy First Bangkok City Bank after the Thai government seized the bank last month.
Citicorp has been seeking to buy banks outside the United States as part of drive to expand its consumer and middle-market corporate banking business in developing countries.
The bank last year agreed to buy Mexico's Banca Confia, a medium-size bank with about 300 branches, and has taken an option on Venezuela's Banco Union. Sources said the acquisition of Confia is expected to close shortly.
Meanwhile Citicorp is expanding in consumer and commercial banking operations in developing countries.
The bank recently opened up corporate banking branches in Puna, India, and in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and a second branch in Karachi, Pakistan. It has also embarked on an ambitious program to expand consumer banking operations in densely populated countries with an emerging middle class.
Citicorp's goal is to have one billion customers worldwide by 2010, up from about 60 million today, executives said.
"Countries with big populations, like Egypt, India, China, and Turkey, are important to us," said Timothy M. Kelley, division executive in London for Citicorp's consumer banking operations in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Mr. Kelley listed credit cards, savings and checking accounts, time deposits, personal loans, mortgages, and mutual funds as among the key products Citicorp plans to introduce into new markets worldwide.
He added that it was only logical for Citicorp to target developing countries, "because these are the economies where wealth is being created."
He also noted that they have young populations which are increasingly willing to use U.S.-style banking products, including credit cards and mortgages.
"The big challenge is to educate people to use an alternative system," Mr. Kelley said.